Sentencing Commission Makes Crack Penalty Reductions Retroactive
By a unanimous vote, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has made its November, 2007 reduction in crack cocaine penalties retroactive. The effective date is March, 2008. The statement is here.
This is very good news, but note the limitations:
Not every crack cocaine offender will be eligible for a lower sentence under the decision. A Federal sentencing judge will make the final determination of whether an offender is eligible for a lower sentence and how much that sentence should be lowered. That determination will be made only after consideration of many factors, including the Commission’s direction to consider whether lowering the offender’s sentence would pose a danger to public safety. In addition, the overall impact is anticipated to occur incrementally over approximately 30 years, due to the limited nature of the guideline amendment and the fact that many crack cocaine offenders will still be required under Federal law to serve mandatory five- or ten-year sentences because of the amount of crack involved in their offense.
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